Varicose Veins

During pregnancy, your body experiences an increase in blood volume with a decreases speed in which your blood returns from your legs to your pelvis. This process increases the pressure on your veins, and with elevated progestin levels, veins becomes more dilated and open leading to varicose veins. Varicose veins may appear commonly on a pregnant woman’s legs, but may also be present on a woman’s vulva. Uncommonly known, hemorrhoids (swollen and inflamed veins in the anus and lower rectum), are also a form of varicose veins. There is no way to avoid attaining varicose veins during pregnancy, but there are steps a pregnant woman can take to not worsen the symptoms or improve risk:

  • Regularly change positions – do not sit or stand for too long
  • Monitor weight regularly – gaining a lot of weight places more pressure on the veins; pregnant women should ask their physician what normal weight gain is
  • Use appropriate clothing support – panty hose, socks, etc. Keep in check that prolonged use of pantyhose may increase likelihood of UTIs
  • Maintain a healthy diet with appropriate fluid intake
  • Utilize compression stockings – designed to help prevent blood pooling in legs
  • Regular exercise – improves circulation of blood.

Pregnant women residing in Denver should visit the Denver Holistic Center for more information before, during and after pregnancy. Varicose veins may take months to fully disappear after delivery of fetus.

When a woman experiences varicose veins, the enlarged and swollen veins are usually caused by faulty valves which may have been weakened. This occurs when the growing fetus in the uterus places pressure on the veins which are responsible for returning blood to the heart. In the legs, it becomes harder for blood to return and blood may gather giving the veins the swollen appearance. Women with a family history have a higher likelihood or attaining this problem during pregnancy. Perceptible symptoms are:

  • Dull achiness, burning sensation or feeling of heaviness in the legs
  • Swelling – of any kind
  • Itchy skin near area of varicose veins
  • Calf pain
  • Stasis pigmentation – skin color changes
  • Dry skin
  • Stretched skin
  • Scaling skin
  • Superficial thrombophlebitis
  • Ulcerations
  • Easy bleeding and/or bruising.

There is no precise cure, for which reason the complications should be understood so a pregnant woman seeks medical attention right away:

  • Fungal or bacterial infections
  • Cellulitis
  • Blood clots
  • Bleeding.

However, some treatment options include:

  • Home therapy – diet, exercise
  • Sclerotherapy
  • Laser treatment – becoming very common even in non-pregnant population
  • Radiofrequency treatment
  • Phlebectomy – removal
  • Ligation and stripping – veins is tied off and then removed.

Most pregnant women may feel varicose veins are unattractive and take away from their sexual appeal, for which reason it is important that a physician takes a full medical history to rule out any psychological distress. The physiological process is easily managed if appropriate management is sought out. Women affected by varicose veins should not hesitate to see their physician and ask questions on how to avoid further complications. Conclusively, this is something almost all women who are pregnant may experience, and is not something that should be alarming unless the symptoms worsen rapidly.